List of Controversial Album Art : 1990s
The following is a list of notable albums with Controversial Album Art 1990s (based on nudity and sexuality / religion / copyright / violence & others), especially where the controversy resulted in the album being banned, censored or sold in packaging other than the original one.
Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)
Anticipating censorship, two versions of the disc packaging were created: one cover featured artwork by singer Perry Farrell including male and female nudity; the other cover has been called the “clean cover”, and features only black text on a white background, listing the band name, album name, and the text of the First Amendment (the “freedom of speech” amendment of the U.S. Constitution). The “clean cover” was created so the CD could be distributed in stores that refused to stock items with nudity on the front cover.
Blur – She’s So High (1990)
The cover shows a naked woman astride a hippotamus, painted by Californian artist Mel Ramos. The poster and accompanying T-shirt, with the picture printed in full size, caused some controversy amongst students and advertisements for the single were banned in Hackney and the London Underground, and defaced elsewhere.
Cannibal Corpse – Various albums (1990-2006)
Death Metal band Cannibal Corpse’s albums were all banned from Germany until 2006 due to their graphic album covers and disturbing lyrics. The band was also forbidden to play any songs from those albums while touring in Germany. This prohibition was not lifted until June 2006. In an interview from 2004, George Fisher attempted to recall what originally provoked the ban : A woman saw someone wearing one of our shirts, I think she is a schoolteacher, and she just caused this big stink about it. So [now] we can’t play anything from the first three records. And it really sucks because kids come up and they want us to play all the old songs — and we would — but they know the deal. We can’t play ‘Born in a Casket’ but can play ‘Dismembered and Molested’.
Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)
The album cover clearly showed a naked infant with his penis showing and is swimming after a dollar bill. Chain stores such as Wal-Mart, and K-Mart initially refused to carry Nevermind. However eventually due to such high demand, Nirvana compromised and put a sticker that read “If you’re offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile.” over the genitals. Nirvana saw continued controversy for their next album, In Utero.
Green Day – Kerplunk (1992)
The cover features a white picture (with some green added in) of a teenage girl wearing a flower shirt holding a smoking gun. The back cover features a boy lying on the ground with a gunshot wound on his back. Retail stores such as Walmart and Kmart were highly offended and initially refused to carry Kerplunk. The band saw continued controversy on their next album Dookie.
Ugly Kid Joe – America’s Least Wanted (1992)
The album’s cover features an image of Ugly Kid Joe’s mascot posing as the statue of liberty holding a porn magazine and sticking up a middle finger. The album was banned from many national retailers because of the cover. A clean cover was used, which featured the band’s mascot tied up in rope, handcuffed in one hand (which is covered with duct tape), while his legs are wrapped in chains.
Type O Negative – The Origin of the Feces (1992)
The original cover of the album has a close-up of Steele’s anal sphincter. This was changed for the re-issue two years later, to a green and black version of the 1493 painting by Michael Wolgemut, The Dance of Death. The album’s title is an obvious pun and a reference to Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
Tool – Undertow (1993)
Photos in the liner notes – of a nude obese woman, a nude man of normal weight, a cow licking its genitals and the band members with pins in the sides of their heads – generated controversy, resulting in the album being removed from stores such as Kmart and Wal-Mart. The cover was later replaced by a giant bar code.
Nirvana – In Utero (1993)
When In Utero was released, there were many objections to the song “Rape Me”, despite the band’s claims that the lyrics were “anti-rape.” Retailers Wal-Mart and Kmart refused to sell the album because of the offensive back cover artwork (featuring model fetuses), so a “clean” version was released for them which featured an altered version of the back cover and listed the title “Rape Me” as “Waif Me”, though the song remained unchanged.
Slayer – Divine Intervention (1994)
The cover was originally intended to depict a photo of a guy’s arms with the band’s name carved into them. However, vocalist Tom Araya stated that the cover was “too graphic” and would be banned from certain stores. Guitarist Kerry King decided to move the graphic image onto the inlay and the disc. The cover was changed to depict a circle of a skeleton sitting on a skull on a stone wall background in the shape of the band’s iconic “Slayer pentagram” graphic. However, many vinyl releases have the original cover artwork.
Pantera – Far Beyond Driven (1994)
The album’s original artwork (a drill bit impaling an anus) was quickly replaced with a new image, depicting a human head impaled with a drill bit. The Driven Downunder Tour ’94 – Souvenir Collection box set released in Australia and New Zealand contained a copy of the album with the original artwork. The LP re-pressing by Rhino Records also uses the original artwork.
Green Day – Dookie (1994)
When Dookie was released, there were many objections to the album’s closing track “F.O.D.”; one of them meaning that the title is abbreviations for “Fuck Off and Die”. Retailers Wal-Mart and Kmart refused to sell the album because of the cover artwork, which shows dogs throwing bombs and dirt on people and buildings and a huge explosion with the band’s name on top of the cloud. A blimp on the left in the sky says “Bad Year” (possibly a parody of the Goodyear Blimp) and on the right is a man with a harp in a cloud. Despite the controversy, no alternative cover has existed. However, later printings of the album edited the back cover for copyright reasons, airbrushing out a puppet of Ernie from Sesame Street
The Black Crowes – Amorica (1994)
The album cover’s depiction of pubic hair, taken from an issue of Hustler magazine, caused controversy. The image was replaced with a black background cover which blacked out the hair.
Chumbawamba – Anarchy (1994)
Its graphic cover, depicting a baby’s head emerging from a vagina caused the record to be banned from some shops and stocked in plain sleeves in others. The iTunes version of the album replaces the baby picture with a painting of several flowers.
Mayhem – Dawn of the Black Hearts (1995)
Dawn of the Black Hearts is a bootleg live album by the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. It is infamous for bearing a photograph of Mayhem’s singer, Dead (Per Yngve Ohlin), after his suicide in April 1991. The photograph was taken by Mayhem’s guitarist, Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth), when he discovered the body.
Slayer – Serenity in Murder (1995)
This is a 4-track EP released by Slayer shortly after the release of their 1994 LP Divine Intervention. But it was discovered that the cover featured a photo of the band’s name carved into a guy’s back (same thing used on Divine Intervention, but with two arms instead of a back). Unlike Divine Intervention, the EP has never had an alternative cover.
Marilyn Manson – Mechanical Animals (1998)
The controversial cover art has won critical acclaim and numerous awards. The infamous photo depicts Manson as an androgynous naked figure with breasts, six fingers and airbrushed genitalia. It is the brainchild of New York City-based long-time Manson photographer Joseph Cultice. Contrary to popular internet rumors, the band leader, Manson, did not undergo any plastic surgery for this androgynous, alien look. In 2003 VH1, declared that Mechanical Animals had the twenty-ninth greatest album cover of all time. It is also featured in Grant Scott’s book “The Greatest Album Covers of All Time”. The cover art text is an anagram which, when rearranged, reads ‘Marilyn Manson Is An Alchemical Man’. The album also features an alternate, less “obscene” cover which is contained on the reverse side of the album liner notes.
Ugly Kid Joe – The Very Best of Ugly Kid Joe: As Ugly as It Gets (1998)
The cover features a picture of the Ugly Kid Joe mascot running in a living room with a lighter in his hand. Many stores, such as Kmart and Walmart refused to stock the album as it was deemed “too violent”. The album was released 6 years after their debut album America’s Least Wanted. Unlike that album, As Ugly as It Gets has never had a second cover.
Buckcherry – Buckcherry (1999)
The cover depicts a painting of a naked woman with tattoos lying on her stomach on the floor with her right breast exposed. The album was banned from Kmart because of the cover. The band also saw continued controversy on their next album, Time Bomb.
Blink-182 – Enema of the State (1999)
The cover artwork features porn star Janine Lindemulder dressed in a nurse uniform, pulling on a rubber glove. The band—semi-nude—appear on the back cover with Lindemulder preparing for some sort of injection. The trio was oblivious to the fact that Lindemulder worked in the porn industry until informed by producer Jerry Finn. Initial copies had the American Red Cross on the nurse cap. This logo was airbrushed on subsequent copies after a complaint.
Ministry – Dark Side of the Spoon (1999)
The album’s cover depicts a naked obese woman seated in front of a blackboard where the words “I will be god” are written numerous times. The album was banned from Kmart due to the offending cover. In the album’s insert, the same woman covers her breasts with her hands, and her behind is also exposed on both the insert and back cover. The woman and the words on the blackboard were later airbrushed out.